ICC furious with kenya for lobbying member states

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Fatou-ICCKenya faces serious opposition from both the ICC top brass and powerful NGOs in its push to withdraw use of recanted testimony against Deputy President William Ruto.

This emerged as a powerful Kenyan delegation prepared to fly to London to lobby for support ahead of the 14th Assembly of States Parties Session.

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The ASP is the legislative arm of the ICC.

In a letter to the ASP leadership, the three ICC chiefs led by President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, warned against the Kenyan bid, saying it is sub judice and a threat to the Court’s independence.

“The Court notes with great concern that a number of issues have been proposed for discussion at the Assembly which relate to matters falling clearly within the judicial and prosecutorial competence of the Court,” the letter reads in part.

“Additionally, as your Excellency will be aware, some of these matters are under active consideration before the Chambers of the Court, and hence sub judice.”

Kenya wants the Rome Statute’s 123 signatory states to set aside the application of the controversial Rule 68 that was used to admit prior recorded testimony of five recalcitrant witnesses against Ruto.

The decision sent shockwaves into Ruto’s political inner circle, triggering the ongoing prayer rallies and other responses.

A high-powered delegation led by Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo is in London to lobby for British ICC support.

Also said to be in the delegation are Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji and Ruto’s legal aide Korir Singoei.

Last night the British High Commission in Nairobi confirmed that the Kenyan government had asked for high-level meetings.

“This is routine between two close partners, and follows the very positive discussions between HE President Kenyatta and PM Cameron in New York in September. The subject of discussion is a matter for the two governments,” said the statement.

In the letter also signed by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Court Registrar Herman von Hebel, the trio emphasised that the Court’s judicial and prosecutorial independence must not be undermined by ASP proceedings.

“It is respectfully submitted that, in accordance with the role of the Assembly within the constitutional framework and separation of powers of the Rome Statute system, the Assembly must refrain from any action that interferes with the ICC’s judicial independence in this respect,” the Court said.

Powerful global NGOs have also opposed the Kenyan agenda, setting the stage for a possible clash with the large Kenyan delegation including MPs who are traveling to The Hague.

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Parliamentarians for Global Action have all disapproved of the Kenyan bid.

“Any effort by the Executive and the Legislature to interfere with the independence and autonomy of the Judiciary – including independent Prosecutors – shall be firmly rebutted,” Parliamentarians for Global Action, a US-based NGO said.

The ASP will have its weeklong annual meeting from November 18 to 26 at the World Forum in The Netherlands.

– the-star.co.ke

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